Excerpt: Taking Risks
Walking into the dinner, her cheek still stinging from her mother’s slap, Lynn looks around, hoping she hasn’t made the biggest mistake of her life by coming here. Lynn spots a figure in a corner booth: coal black, shaggy-cut bob and a leather jacket. Lynn takes a breath and strides over.
“Can I sit down?” Lynn asks.
Carrie glances up and looks surprised, her bright blue eyes rimmed with inky black liner as usual. “Sit. You came.” Carrie looks excited, which she doesn’t usually in class.
Lynn sits down opposite Carrie.
Carrie frowns. “Your face?”
“I told my parents everything: that I’ve been going to community college, that I want to be an English teacher, and that I’m not marrying my dad’s business partner’s son. And I told them I like girls,” Lynn says in a rush.
Carrie reaches out hesitantly and touches Lynn’s cheek. “You got hurt?”
“My mom slapped me. Dad said I’m cut off. But you were right, Carrie. I couldn’t keep pretending. It was killing me. My therapist was so worried about it, but now I have no place to stay, no nothing.” Lynn is freaking out a little, well a lot. She’s just dropped a bomb in her so-called perfect life, just because a pretty girl wrote her a poem and talked to her over coffee.
Carrie pushes her drink forward. “Have something to drink, take a breath, and we’ll start working this out together.”
Lynn reaches for the soda as told, and when their hands meet in the trade off, Lynn’s stomach fizzes like the bubbles in the soda. She has it bad. She’s had crushes on women before, but none like this. Carrie seems to be on the edge of her every thought.
“You work, so you have money. My brothers will go with you to collect your things tomorrow. Anything you bought is yours. And my parents will let you stay with us for dirt-cheap rent,” Carrie says like it’s that simple, but Lynn likes that about Carrie. She never hesitates. Lynn has been hesitating her whole life till tonight.
“Thank you. You’ve been so amazing since I met you. It’s just, do you really like me, or are you just helping me to be nice to the poor loser case?” Lynn asks.
Carrie takes her hand. “I wish I could say I was just being a good person and helping you out. But you living with us honestly helps me. I want to be with you, and I don’t want to hide it.”
Lynn wants to kiss Carrie, but they haven’t done anything like that yet, but she wants to take the risk, even if it feels huge. “Can I kiss you?”
“In public? You sure?” Carrie seems surprised again, like she wasn’t sure Lynn was taking the leap with her.
“I’m scared, but I want my life to start. No more hiding. No more playing it safe. My parents reacted how I thought they would, but my world isn’t over. It’s just starting.” Lynn had been so afraid for so long, but she’s done it now. She’s outed herself, and she’s got Carrie here, ready to help her make things better.
Carrie smiles. “Go on, then. Kiss me.”
Carrie’s words seem almost like a dare, a challenge, one Lynn can’t resist. She leans forward and plants a soft kiss on Carrie’s waiting lips. No kiss has ever made her feel so nervous or excited. Her stomach flips when Carrie’s tongue flicks out over her lower lip.
Someone clears their throat loudly, and Lynn and Carrie move back at the same time.
“Want to go somewhere to be alone before you come meet my folks?” Carrie asks with mischief in her eyes.
Lynn feels excitement spark in her soul like the start of a fire. “Where can we go?”
“I have my camper van.” Carrie has a van for travelling in the summers between school. Lynn has dreamed of going with her, seeing more of the world, and maybe now she can, but right now the world isn’t on her mind as much as seeing how Carrie’s moans taste.
“Let’s go.” Lynn stands, mind made up. What’s one more risk after turning her life upside down. Now is the time to be bold.
Carrie grabs her bag as she stands and then grabs Lynn’s hand, and it’s not till they make it to the doorway that Lynn realizes it has begun raining in the short time she was inside. They look at each other and both smile and dive out the door into the pouring rain. It’s shockingly cold, and Lynn focuses on the warmth of Carrie’s hand as she follows Carrie’s lead to her van. Carrie fumbles with the keys for only a second before she’s opening up the back and they’re both climbing in and closing themselves in.
Lynn pushes her long hair back. It’s soaking wet and heavy, and she can’t help but laugh. “This is so unlike me.”